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Cognition in Organizations: An Analysis of the Utrecht Jazz Orchestra

Michel Bougon, Karl Weick and Din Binkhorst
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 22, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 606-639
DOI: 10.2307/2392403
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2392403
Page Count: 34
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Cognition in Organizations: An Analysis of the Utrecht Jazz Orchestra
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Abstract

This article describes a theoretical and empirical study of the Utrecht Jazz Orchestra. The research represents a radically new approach to organization analysis, based on a study of the participants' cause maps. We begin the analysis by ranking the variables of the average cause map and then, using these ranks, unfold the map into a content-free graph called an etiograph. This unfolding corresponds to an ordering of the variables interpretable in terms of organizations. The location of the variables in the etiograph has a strong association with the level of the participants' perceived influence over the situation, as well as with the number of logical inconsistencies in the participants' construction of the situation. Moreover, etiographic analysis ranks variables plausibly in a sequence of three clusters of givens, means, and ends. The analysis also covers the effect of requesting knowledge known with certainty, as well as the extent of the congruence between the participants' and an observer's conceptions of the setting. Finally, cross-validation analysis, using a holdout sample, supports the major findings.

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